Andrew Holleran / Photo editor
Ohio State football’s “quick cals” drill is starting to catch on, and other traditions introduced at Buckeye Kickoff 2012 aren’t far behind either.
Buckeyes football players and coaches instructed students on how to perform the quick cal exercise during the Ohio Union’s first annual Buckeye Kickoff event Saturday at Ohio Stadium. The Welcome Week event also featured appearances by President E. Gordon Gee, former Buckeyes two-time Heisman Trophy winner Archie Griffin and the OSU Marching Band.
The first new tradition of the night was introduced to students outside the stadium, where University Residences and Dining Services offered free “Ohio Dog” hot dogs, which are topped with scallions, corn, bacon, mashed potatoes and barbecue sauce.
Once inside, a few on-field events elicited few cheers from the students at the outset of the event. The Horseshoe was noticeably quiet considering the number of spectators, but that changed when members of the No. 18-ranked Buckeyes took to the field.
OSU football strength and conditioning coach Mickey Marotti instructed students on his increasingly renowned quick cals drill. Marotti, along with OSU defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Luke Fickell and the team’s five senior captains – defensive tackle John Simon, fullback Zach Boren, defensive lineman Garrett Goebel, linebacker Etienne Sabino and running back Jordan Hall – taught students the hand and clapping movements that make up the quick cal.
“We’re hoping (the quick cals) takes off throughout the entire stadium,” Fickell told the crowd. “It’s got to start with the students and as that grows, hopefully, our idea is that everybody in the stadium will understand what we’re doing by the end of the first few games.”
First-year OSU coach Urban Meyer told The Lantern Friday that the team will convene in the Horseshoe’s south end zone 23 minutes prior to kickoff at home games and, under the whistle and hand commands of Marotti, will do quick cals with fans. Marotti, who earned his master’s degree from OSU, blew his whistle and grunted out the words “ready, ready” to cue the students’ reactions.
“Hopefully you guys will pick it up pretty quick,” Marotti told a crowd that Block-O estimated to be more than 2,500 students. “Hopefully you pick it up quicker than our players did – it’s taken them six months. So, you got about six seconds to pick it up.”
After taking rounds of quick cals, Sabino told The Lantern he thought the students were quick to learn the complicated drill.
“I think (the students) liked it. I think they’re going to be excited to do it. And like I said, as long as they turn up, it’s going to be a lot of fun,” Sabino said. “We hope that the whole stadium will do it eventually, but I think they picked it up pretty good.”
“I thought it was good. It was very exciting,” Goebel said. “We have the best fans in college football, so they picked up on the quick cals pretty good. We’ll have this place rocking come Saturday.”
The Buckeye Kickoff event also celebrated long-standing traditions, like the OSU Marching Band and some of its familiar performances, including the stadium entrance, “Script Ohio” and “Hang On Sloopy”. It also introduced new cheers for the 2012 season, titled “Bully,” “Talkin’ Out the Side of Your Neck” and “Buckeye Swag”.
The marching band took its usual seats on the bleachers in the front rows of the south end zone and was followed by remarks from Gee, who spoke for only a few minutes, and then Griffin, who sported an OSU football-themed Hawaiian shirt.
Griffin emphasized the importance of adopting OSU traditions during his speech.
“Traditions are such an important part of a student’s experience. Why, you might ask? Well, because the traditions you learn here on campus are helping you form a bond with generations of Ohio State students that have come before you,” Griffin said. “While I’ll admit to being biased, I don’t think there’s a university in the world that can compare to our tradition.”
Keeping in line with Griffin’s remarks, the Buckeye Kickoff event was capped with another new tradition – the marching band came back on the field and formed the outline of a Block-O that spanned about forty yards. The scarlet-clad students in attendance were then invited onto the field to fill in the Block-O.
An Ohio Union photographer snapped photographs after the Block-O was filled, and the photographs can be found on the Union’s Facebook page.
With many of the students in attendance inside the formation, the band played “Carmen Ohio” and “We Don’t Give a Damn for the Whole State of Michigan” to end the night’s festivities.
Several students said they were impressed with the event.
Matt Tolliver, a first-year in mechanical engineering, said that while he enjoyed the speakers, his favorite part of the night was watching the OSU marching band.
“Script Ohio – it’s the first time I’ve seen it in person, and it was kind of, like, awesome,” Tolliver said.
Greg Mansperger, a first-year in biomedical engineering, agreed.
“It was really cool. Just the energy of everybody was fantastic,” Mansperger said. “I can’t wait for next weekend – with tailgating and everybody being down here, it’s going to be crazy.”
OSU kicks off its season opening game against Miami University (Ohio) Saturday at noon in the ‘Shoe.